Wexford town left in poor state after big game
WEXFORD town was a place of celebration on Saturday night, but for Tidy Town volunteers and council staff, some of the gloss was taken off the victory over arch rivals Kilkenny given the state of the streets on the morning after.
'There were grown men in Wexford jerseys, drunk and smashing glasses around the Bullring and outside Dunnes in Redmond Square. I was afraid to get out of the car and say anything,' said Phil Murphy, from Wexford Tidy Towns, who was up at 6 a.m. on Sunday and couldn't believe the state the town had been left in.
'We're all Wexford supporters and want to see them winning, but we love our town as well and it's terrible to see it like this. I was so upset. The day before we had been out cleaning up and you could have eaten your dinner off some of the streets when we left,' she said.
The town centre, and some streets close to Innovate Wexford Park, were left in a terrible state, with fans, many of who had been drinking for hours, blamed for tearing out plants and leaving an avalanche of fast food litter on the streets.
Problems began almost as soon as fans began turning out of town pubs, where many had gathered early to get seats where they could watch the match, and heading to takeaways and fast-food restaurants.
Howevever, the issue was not restricted to littering, with plants torn up and planters, brought in to beautify the town, turned over and emptied and with lots of smashed glass left for council workmen to clean up on Sunday morning.
Madeleine Quirke, chief executive of Wexford Chamber, said the elation felt by everybody following Saturday's victory was palpable throughout the town.
'I was in town myself on Saturday night and it was wonderful to see the streets so busy and everybody out celebrating,' she said, however, 'damage to shops, to flower beds and to public spaces is not acceptable'.
'Unless we want to be wading knee-deep in rubbish we all need to think about the amount of rubbish we are creating every single day and more importantly we must respect other people's property,' she said.
The Mayor, Cllr Frank Staples said everyone was caught out by the number of people in the town, and queues of up to 150 people were reported outside some town centre pubs, some of which had to close their doors.
'Unfortunately when you get that many people get together with drink taken that sort of thing goes on, but it's not fair on the Tidy Towns committee and you can't make excuses for it,' he said.
Meanwhile, gardai said their traffic plan for the big games worked well with no major complaints from any of the estates around Wexford Park.
'A lot of people parked well away and walked in. We were delighted with the response,' said Inspector Denis Whelan.